The former head of the South American football confederation Conmebol, Juan Ángel Napout, was sentenced to nine years in prison on Wednesday (August 29) for his role in the Fifa corruption scandal.
The sentencing of 60-year-old Napout came just a week after the former boss of Brazilian football, José Maria Marin, was jailed for four years in connection with the same case.
“There’s a need for general deterrence because there was, and perhaps there is still, corruption in international soccer,” federal Judge Pamela Chen told the courtroom as she delivered the sentence.
Napout implored the judge for compassion and mercy but Chen said it was important to send a message “that you cannot steal millions in bribes from soccer organisations and go unpunished… that there are real consequences, that you’ll go to jail and it won’t be a slap on the wrist”.
A former head of Paraguayan football, Napout was also ordered to pay a $1m fine and return the $3.3m in bribes that he pocketed.
The former football chief was found guilty on December 22 on three counts in connection with bestowing television and marketing rights for major events in exchange for lucrative kickbacks. He was convicted of racketeering conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud conspiracy, but was acquitted on two counts of money laundering conspiracy.
The prosecution of Napout follows the US investigation into endemic corruption at Fifa, football’s governing body. In total, 42 officials and marketing executives, as well as the sports marketing company Traffic, have been indicted, with corruption crimes involving a total of more than $200m.